Rajasthan police recommends CBI probe in fraudulent Arms licences case

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The Rajasthan Police has recommended a CBI probe in the gun-licensing racket after role of public officials, especially some IAS officers from Jammu and Kashmir, came to the fore during investigations carried out by the Anti-Terror Squad (ATS), officials said.

Director General of Rajasthan Police O P Galhotra has written to the state’s home department suggesting “transfer of the case to the CBI without any further delay, they said.

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The state police chief said the case pertains to the issuance of arms licenses in “fraudulent manner by various authorities in Jammu and Kashmir”.

“In view of the large scale of the scam, involvement of public officials of Jammu and Kashmir and the implication on the national security, the police headquarters had recommended in December 2017 that the case need to be transferred to the CBI for comprehensive investigation.

“The decision of the government in this regard is still awaited,” Galhotra said, while drawing attention towards the recent deliberations with the Rajasthan home minister to seek early transfer of the case to the CBI.

On July 20, the case was sent to Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje’s office to refer the file to Department of Personnel and Training, the nodal ministry for the CBI, the officials said.

The ATS probe so far has indicated involvement of some IAS officers of the Jammu and Kashmir cadre in issuance of arms licenses on forged documents.

According to the police probe, around 4.29 lakh arms licences have been issued in the last one decade from various districts of the militancy-hit state.

Taking cognisance of the ATS’ requests, pending since last year, the Jammu and Kashmir government issued a notification on July 12 asking divisional commissioners and deputy commissioners to submit a detailed report on arms licences issued last year.

The deputy commissioners of all districts have been barred from issuing any further arms licences till further orders, it said. According to ATS officials, 1,32,321 of the 1,43,013 licences in Jammu region’s Doda, Ramban and Udhampur districts were issued to those residing outside the state. The figure for the entire state is 4,29,301, of which just over 10 per cent were issued to residents in the state.

The brother of a senior IAS officer from Jammu and Kashmir was arrested by the ATS in Gurugram, Haryana, after it was alleged that he had received Rs 40 lakh from the arms lobby, they said.

The probe had also brought over 3,000 gun licenses that had been issued in the name of purported army personnel who had served in Jammu and Kashmir under the scanner of ATS who had asked the army to verify the names following suspected involvement of a gang to procure them illegally, they said.

The case dates back to November last year when the Rajasthan police’s ATS carried out an operation, codenamed “Jubaida”, and arrested 52 people for their alleged involvement in getting gun licenses issued from various districts of Jammu and Kashmir under suspicious circumstances.

The licenses included 3,367 in the name of purported army personnel, the officials said.

Letters were written in this connection to the Army, Indian Air Force, Navy, Coast Guard, seven para-military forces including the Border Security Force(BSF) and the Central Reserve Police Force(CRPF), National Cadet Corps (NCC), Railway Protection Force(RPF) and National Disaster Response Force (NDRF).

While most of them have replied, a comprehensive response from the army was still awaited, notwithstanding the reminders, the officials said.

As far as other organisations are concerned, the Navy informed the police that out of the list of 26 personnel submitted, only 14 cases were genuine, the officials said, adding this will help to find out how the remaining 12 people allegedly posing themselves as Navy personnel got the gun license from J and K.

The IAF was provided with a list of 39 people by the ATS out of which the credentials of only 17 were found to be correct.

Similarly, of the 548 BSF personnel, records for 471 were received out of which cases of only 336 personnel were found correct, the officials said.

The CRPF list stood at 424 out of which 237 were found correct, the officials said, adding, among other forces, only 154 out of 387 were found correct for the Central Industrial Security Force(CISF), Seema Sashtra Bal(SSB), Indo-Tibetan Border Police(ITBP), National Security Guards(NSG), Coast Guard, Railway Protection Force(RPF), National Cadet Corps(NCC) and the NDRF.